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Union or Secession
  • "Are you a Union Man?"
  • "Are you a Union Man?"
  • "Are you a Union Man?"
  • "Are you a Union Man?"
William A. Burwell wrote on January 22, 1861, from Patrick Court House to Christopher Y. Thomas, a member of the Senate of Virginia, describing how the people of Patrick County were reacting to the secession crisis.
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"Are you a Union Man?"

William A. Burwell to Christoper Yancy Thomas, January 22, 1861, Gravely Family Papers, Acc. 34126, Library of Virginia.

William A. Burwell wrote on January 22, 1861, from Patrick Court House to Christopher Yancy Thomas, a member of the Senate of Virginia, describing how the people of Patrick County were reacting to recent political events. He related that "the people are all asking what is to become of us. . . . They are running about asking 'are you a Union Man?'" Burwell also asked that copies of the Richmond Daily Dispatch to be sent to him and mentioned that he had been asked to be a candidate in the February 4 election for a seat in the Virginia Convention called to consider Virginia's response to the secession crisis. Samuel G. Staples, an opponent of secession, won the election to represent Patrick County.

William A. Burwell to Christoper Yancy Thomas, January 22, 1861, Gravely Family Papers, Acc. 34126, Library of Virginia.

Patrick C H Va
Jany 22d/61.
C Y Thomas Esqr
Dr sir
I wrote you by the last mail and gave you all the news in circulation here, but really ours seems to be a godforsaken County everything is at a stand Still, the people are all asking what is to become of us, the women & children are all alarmed, & I have a hope that the Epidemic will seize half of the men and Extinguish their lives, for they are the veryest fools up here about this Convention that your eyes every beheld—They are running about asking "are you a Union Man"? John Staples & Abe made two of the most ridiculous speeches at our last court you ever heard, & they are to blame for all this excitement,—they alluded to negroe insurrections while we were abroad or in service, and it has produced alarm with the timid & defenceless such as women & children & they all seem to forget their rights & honor are involved & cry out let Lincoln take his seat—The Staples between you & I have always been a curse to Patrick and I could not help thinking all the while Abe & John were speaking against Saw Staples of the sun the old Col made from Sleepyhole ferry on his march to Norfolk in 1812.
Well I feel such an interest in the prompt & decisive action of my State with regard to the impending crisis, that I cannot write about any thing else, but I write today, to request you to forward me the Daily Dispatch, during the Session, as it gives full proceedings of your body, ask the Editor to send me the back Numbers to the commencement of the Session if he has them—I shall be in Richmond in Feby and will pay you for it—or if you wish you can call on Wm P Burwell Esqr of Richmond who will pay it—Please forward it immediately upon the reception of this—Upon the subject of a stay law I see no other remedy for the purpose upon the people, under the present depreciated value of property—The poor people of this country are having their property sacrificed every day by the officers, bringing about one fourth of its value, and I trust you will introduce some bill for their protection—give my Kindest regards to Mr Johnson of the Senate & ask his concurence with you & his aid—Also to Genl Kemper of the House, and ask him to take the subject in hand there—Be Kind enough to send my Journal of last session with all the Documents reports &c which belong to me forward to me, vice Danville to the care of Johnston & Clark,—If you will but have them delivered to Crump the Conductor on the Danville Train, or to Dr.—whose name I have forgotten, but who Conductor of United States Mail or rathers agent, and who was once Editor of the Danville Republican—ask either of them to deliver them to Johnston & Clark to be forwarded to me I have been strongly solicited to run for the Convention, but I have not yet consented—I will determined by next Court—let me hear from you often, either by letter or by a newspaper.
Yours very respectfully
WM. A. BURWELL